Oxford School of Photography

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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Capa In Color

Here from the pages of Faded+Blurred is a review of a new book about Robert Capa


Until recently, I had no idea that iconic photojournalist and co-founder ofMagnum Photos, Robert Capa shot anything in color. Like many of you, I knew him mainly for The Magnificent Eleven, his gritty black & white war photos taken on D-Day at Omaha Beach. Capa actually covered five wars over the course of his career and according to Cynthia Young, curator of the Capa in Color exhibition currently at the International Center of Photography in NYC regularly shot in both black & white and color. “Capa’s talent with black-and-white film was extraordinary, and starting color film halfway through his career required a new discipline, but it also opened up new opportunities,” she says. ”He really had two cameras around his neck at all times — three even, often in two different formats.”  READ MORE?

In Plain Sight: Vivian Maier

The unusual story of Vivian Maier seeped out just a few years ago, I became aware of her work through a documentary on the tv. It is refreshing to find her here featured in the Faded + Blurred Spotlight series

When we talk about street photography, most of us think of names like Robert Frank, Diane Arbus or Garry Winogrand; these are the iconic names, the photographers you go to when you want to see great examples of that genre of photography. There is another name, however, that is coming up more and more often, which, up until three years ago, was never heard before in the world of photography: Vivian Maier. I remember watching the story of Vivian Maier unfold. I was riveted (and still am) by how the story of her life and work has turned into a worldwide sensation, seemingly overnight. Her photographs have won critical acclaim and are excellent examples of what street photography is all about – the images are honest, have impeccable timing, and the detail, light and composition all work beautifully together to create wholly compelling images. There is no doubt that Maier knew what she was doing; she definitely had a gift. All the more remarkable is the fact that she rarely shared that gift with anyone.

Vivian Maier Vivian Maier

The story of Vivian Maier began to unfold a few years ago when John Maloof, a Chicago real estate agent, bought a box full of negatives at an auction in 2007. He wanted them because he was working on a book about Portage Park (a neighborhood in Chicago) and he noticed these negatives seemed to have various Chicago neighborhoods in them. He was hoping he would be able to use some of them. Although none ended up being usable for his book, what he did find has changed his life. The box turned out to contain over 30,000 negatives. As he started looking through them and scanning some onto his computer, they spoke to him and began to create a portrait of the photographer who took them. He began to get curious. Who was the photographer? Could he find out?….READ MORE






vivian-maier-spotlight-18A remarkable, ordinary person taking pictures


11 photo lessons every pro learned the hard way

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Some obvious lessons here but always worth emphasising, Digital Camera World has the full article here

Avoid making an embarrassing or expensive photographic mistakes with these top tips from the pros. In their latest guest blog post the photo management and Canon Project1709 experts atPhotoventure spoke to professional photographers in a number of different genres and put together the common pitfalls that plagued them all.

No Breaks: Irving Penn

From the ever brilliant Faded + Blurred

“I myself have always stood in awe of the camera. I recognize it for the instrument it is, part Stradivarius, part scalpel.” – Irving Penn
Stark simplicity. These are the words that come to mind when seeing the work of Irving Penn. No excess, no props, and the paraphernalia most fashion photographers were using at the time had been stripped away. Penn was the first fashion photographer to use blank white space or simple textured backgrounds for his images, letting the fashion speak for itself. Using the line of the model’s figure and the cut of the fabric to fill the empty space, what appears to be simple is layered with complexity. He wanted to “make things manageable enough to record them, to prune away anything inconsequential… because less is more.” Penn’s images can be pointed to as the beginning of modern fashion photography.

Irvin Penn (like his contemporaries, Saul Leiter and Cartier-Bresson) studied drawing and painting at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art in the 1930s. After working as a freelance designer for Harper’s Bazaar for a couple of years, he took some time off to go to Mexico in order to paint. After a year he realized he would never make it as an artist so he came back to New York where he was hired by Vogue to work on the design of the covers. For some reason, he was unable to get the photographers interested in the designs he sketched. The art director, Alexander Liberman, told him to take the photographs himself. The first one he did, a still-life, ended up as the cover of the October 1, 1943 issue. After that, his photographs appeared on more than 150 covers, spanning the next 50 years…………READ MORE



irving-penn-48See the huge range of this photographic genius on the wonderful Faded + Blurred spotlight here


5 ways photographers can sell their first magazine cover

Another great article for Digital Camera World, see the original here

As our series on how to sell photos online and in print continues we look at the prestigious magazine cover and explore five surefire ways photographers can get their images on the covers of magazines.

A cover photo is a specialised thing – it needs to have room for words, and then you have to get it into the hands of the people who’ll publish it. Sydney-based Bhuminan Piyathasanan’s beautiful landscape images on Flickr have been featured on magazine covers worldwide, including our sister title N-Photo. Here he explains the secrets of his success.


Nikon D3300 vs D5300: which DSLR should you choose?


Buying an entry-level DSLR from Nikon is not as straightforward as it sounds. Should aspiring enthusiast photographers stepping up from a compact go for the most basic DSLR in the range (the Nikon D3300) or pay a bit more for a camera with a few more features, namely the Nikon D5300? If you’re agonising over this choice, read on for enlightenment…

The Nikon D3300, announced at the CES show in January 2014, boasts a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor without an optical low-pass filter to enable more detailed, sharper shots (more on this later).

Another key improvement from the D3200 is an expanded ISO range (up to 25,600) and faster continuous shooting of up to 5 frames per second.

Meanwhile the Nikon D5300, announced last October, also has a 24.2Mp sensor without an optical low-pass filter, expanded ISO range of 25,600, 5fps continuous shooting mode and so on… see the problem?

The main areas where it trumps the Nikon D3300 are more AF options, built-in Wi-Fi and GPS and a flip-out, ‘vari-angle’ screen. Oh and the rear LCD has a few more pixels…

That said, there is obviously the crucial difference of price. The Nikon D3300 price tag for the body plus a compact 18-55mm VR lens stands at around £500 ($645), while the Nikon D5300 with the same lens will set you back about £150 more.

So the fundamental question we need to answer is whether the differences between the Nikon D330 vs D5300 that really justify the D5300′s extra spend…

Want to know more read here

Making a great travel book

Blurb make digital books, and very nice they are too. If your think of yourself as a photographer at any level you should be committing your best images to some form of hard copy. Being on line, having them on your ipad, whatever form of screen based display you use it is not as good as a hard copy.

What makes a great travel book? It’s not just the location or the camera. A superior travel book is one part photographer’s eye, one part careful curation and editing, and one part thoughtful organization and construction. A great travel book doesn’t just collect images, it tells a story. It conveys the meaning of a place and it gets inside the place—it may even tell a little bit about the author and why they travel.


We asked four photographers for tips—a pretty international group, representing the United States, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Thailand. We asked them about the books they made, the cameras they shoot with, and just what it is that they’re looking for when they hit the road.



neil-hebert-this-is-china“…I can tell you that I had about 600 images to chose from, and about 100 made it into the book. You have to be picky when you’re putting your work out there, plus the images have to work.”
Neil Herbert



“The reactions have been phenomenal, my 25 limited-edition copies sold in a week and the normal edition is still selling. I have received so much encouraging positive feedback from everyone who has seen the book and it seems to have taken on a life of its own.”
Flemming Bo Jensen

Read the whole of this article/advertorial here

Pictures of the Week: December 6, 2013

From the wonderful Denver Post blog

A woman, surrounded by other people who pay their respects, prays on December 6, 2013 outside the house of former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg following his death. Mandela, the revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and one of the towering political figures of the 20th century, has died aged 95. Mandela, who was elected South Africa’s first black president after spending nearly three decades in prison, had been receiving treatment for a lung infection at his Johannesburg home since September, after three months in hospital in a critical state.

An ultra-orthodox Jewish man lights candles on the sixth night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, in a religious neighborhood of Jerusalem on December 2, 2013. The holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem after the Jews’ 165 B.C. victory over the Hellenist Syrians when Antiochus, the Greek King of Syria, outlawed Jewish rituals and ordered the Jews to worship Greek gods.

APTOPIX Cyber Monday

An Amazon.com employee stocks products along one of the many miles of aisles at an Amazon.com Fulfillment Center on “Cyber Monday” the busiest online shopping day of the holiday season Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, in Phoenix.  Over 2,000 employees will work the over 1-million square foot facility on “Cyber Monday.” (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

APTOPIX India Daily Life

An economically underprivileged girl plays next to a makeshift shelter in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. Some 800 million people in the country live in poverty, many of them migrating to big cities in search of a livelihood and often ending up on the streets. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

APTOPIX Thailand Politics

A Thai policeman salutes to anti-government protesters from inside the Government House building, in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. Anti-government protesters swarmed into the Thai prime minister’s office compound Tuesday as police stood by and watched, allowing them to claim a symbolic victory after three days of bitter clashes. Hundreds of protesters poured onto the lawn of Government House, waving Thai flags and blowing whistles to celebrate a symbolic victory. (AP Photo /Manish Swarup)

APTOPIX Peru Unearthing The Bodies

Aurelia Castro is embraced by her son Raul as his daughter stands by his side. They are posing in their front yard  in the district of Chungui, Peru. Aurelia’s first husband was killed in 1984 when the couple tried to escape from soldiers who accused villagers of collaborating with Shining Path rebels. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)


See more here

The Instrument Is Not The Camera: Eve Arnold

If you do a Google image search for Eve Arnold, the majority of the photographs that come up are of Marilyn Monroe. It’s not surprising, considering  she spent ten years documenting the starlet; whether on movie sets, at special celebrity events, or just her everyday life. The photographs of Monroe, however, are just a small portion of her work. There is an incredible diversity to her photography which rivaled any photographer of her day. Her subjects range from migrant laborers to the Queen of England; from prostitutes in Cuba to First Lady Jackie Kennedy. It didn’t matter who the subject was, she treated them all with the same amount of respect and interest, all while capturing thousands of photographs from around the world.

Born in Philadelphia to Russian immigrant parents in 1912, Arnold took up photography when a boyfriend gave her a Rolleicord (the cheaper version of the Rolleiflex) at the age of 34. She had been working at a photo-finishing lab for several years, so she knew the technical side of photography, but she quickly became enamored with the artistic side. She soon ended her studies in medicine, and began seriously pursuing photography as a career, beginning with a six-week course at New York’s New School for Social Research (where Richard Avedon was a classmate). As soon as it was over, she took off and began taking pictures. Her first project was photographing fashion in Harlem. She spent months in places most photographers would never have gone, especially as a white female. She spent the next year and a half in bars, restaurants, church halls; wherever these models were showing their homemade gowns….Being rejected by most publications in the US because of the subject matter, her husband sent some of her prints to Britain’s Picture Post, who published the story in 1951. She had applied to become a photographer for the Magnum Photography Agency and the publication of these images were a big part of her acceptance. She so impressed the agency’s founders, including Robert Capa and Henri Cartier-Bresson, that she became the first woman photographer accepted into the organization, working for them as a free-lance photographer until 1957 when she became a full member…..READ MORE









The Terry O’Neill Award is one of the world’s most respected and leading photography prizes. It attracts thousands of entries every year from around the globe. Our distinguished judges offer a unique opportunity to showcase your talent to titans of the industry, many of whom operate in the commercial world and commission work.


£6500 in cash prizes
Winners work featured in The Sunday Times Magazine
Showcased in Terry O’Neill exhibitions in the UK and overseas

Closing Date 30 November 2014

Further information here